Reading for the First Time, Again

Moonspinnersby Mary Jo

"What books do you wish you could read for the first time again?"

I can't remember where I saw someone ask the question above, but I immediately thought how delightful the question would be for a monthly Ask A Wench topic. And indeed, the Word Wench answers are varied and fun. I did suggest that we didn't need to mention books by Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer, which are pretty much a given in this crowd, but they did manage to sneak in. <G>

Pat Rice

I’m not entirely certain I can fully recreate the wonder of reading some books for the first time when the difference in experience is so enormous between then and now. I read Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice for the first time when I Catch22was nine years old. I still savor the joy in finding Real Books instead of the insipid garbage in the school library. Today—aging Britlit, even reading for the first time, would hardly be as engrossing.

What about Catch 22 or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? I was in awe of those as a freshman in college. They’re so brilliant, I might still experience some of the awe, and my cynicism now and then would still enjoy it. But after seeing the movies? Maybe not so much.

And I know many tomes don’t hold up to my more jaded eyes these days. I soaked up Woodiwiss’s Flame and the Flower as if I were a thirsty sponge back in the 70’s, but now? Please. Neither the story or writing would meet my standards today. I think experience impedes my enjoyment of most books these days. I’ll spend a few quiet hours of pleasure, but they’ll never reach the awestruck standards of those earlier books.


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